I’m sitting at the Albuquerque airport waiting for my flight back to Carmel after a weekend of sunsets, laughter, Opera and friends.

There are two people standing right next to me, and even though I’m trying to mind my own business, their conversation is pulling me in. A woman, who recently moved, is talking about how she feels daunted by the sheer volume of moving boxes stacked in her kitchen that await her when she returns home. Next to her is a gentleman who is explaining how he and his wife have become minimalists in the last year. They recently pared down their whole kitchen to the essentials, including a simple 4 place setting for dining. The focus and clarity he has is inspiring, even to me as an organizer. He says that when they entertain for more than 4, they figure it out. He goes on to explain that these situations rarely happen, but when they do, there is always a way to manage the abundance that rolls in. Which makes me think about the question that most often gets in the way for people when they are letting go of things, “What if I need this someday?”

I hear this all the time.

“What if I need this someday?”

More often than not, “someday” never comes. But how do you manage the items that feel like they should be held on to, just in case?

I see this a lot with crafters, builders, office supply addicts, kitchen aficionados, and fashionistas. Just try to get rid of a quilter’s scrap pile…or a lego builder’s, well…anything. You will lose an arm!

It’s far better to be a realist about what you truly want and need instead. It’s more effective to build a home for your “someday” items than it is to pretend like they don’t exist and let them pile up in random places, mucking up your most vital spaces and stuff.

Handling Someday Before It Gets Here

When it comes to the “someday” items. Do a few simple things to keep yourself in check:

  1. Stay Current.  Make sure the items are relevant to you today or in the immediate future…immediate future, meaning things you will actually use within the next year.
  2. Keep only the best version of whatever it is.  If it’s ratty now, it is only going to get worse with time, not better.
  3. Set reasonable limits for how much you can keep.  My favorite limits are physically set with boxes, bins, cabinets & the like. They are most effective when they have clear boundaries. Limits should be based on the physical space you have available and are willing to devote to the item. The more of a priority it is for you, the larger the blueprint it can have…as long as it doesn’t impact the ease and efficiency of your daily life and dealings.
  4. Pare down when you hit your limit capacity.  When you hit the limit you set for yourself, either take an afternoon to purge your “someday” section, or start to get rid of 1 or 2 of your existing items for every new item you bring in. Better yet, start to purge at 80% capacity. This will ensure that you never hit that feeling of overwhelm that so often stops people in their tracks or triggers shame or defeat to show up.
  5. Be ready to purge at a moment’s notice.  Keep a trash and/or donation bin close at hand so you can effortlessly transition things into their next life if you find you don’t need or want them.

Purger’s Remorse

Yes, it is possible that the minute you get rid of something you will need it. I’ve had this happen a small handful of times to clients over the years.

One client was debating getting rid of her baby items. She and her husband had two kids who were close to two now and they weren’t sure if they would have any more kids. Since they weren’t actively trying and she had other interests she was currently devoted to, she did in fact get rid of all of her baby items. A month later, she found out she was pregnant.

I tell you this not to scare you, but to include the reality that sometimes we do release things that we may need one day. But every time this happens, we always find our way. The Universe has a way of always having our back. If something is taken from our lives, something new is brought in. Often the open channel we create is what allows the next chapter to begin. My client went on to have a successful and healthy third child who had all of her needs met, in spite of the fact that they had to source some replacement baby gear.

But the truth is that purger’s remorse is far more of the exception than the rule. Mostly, people are met with the relief that comes with releasing things that they no longer need, allowing the “someday” items to drift from their lives, and into someone else’s active world.

This Week’s Action Steps

  1. Dream it:  What are the essential “someday” items in your life? What items deserve a home for the future? Can you reimagine their current system? Do you need to create a new system for them?
  2. Do it:  Schedule 2 hours this week to give yourself the gift of a powerful and intentional “someday” system.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
-Walt Disney

Share with me in the comments below what your vital “someday” items are that you can’t imagine living without.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with holding onto things for the future.

The key is to do so with intention, so that you feel supported, clear, and empowered, instead of overwhelmed.

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